Coming from a large Hispanic family, we have always been involved with sports. Growing up with our 12 aunts and uncles, volleyball has been the sport of choice for the family. It has been a blessing for our family because it has allowed us to grow closer to one another and can be easily taught. Volleyball has been a great way to make new friends, build relationships and connect with strangers at the parks that we play at.
For many years now we have been getting together, guys and girls, young and “Older,” to play a game we all enjoy. Sundays after church are our biggest play days since most of us are off work.
Volleyball is a team sport with at least four players up to as many as six on the court. When we are out at the city parks, there are often other groups of people who come out to play on the courts, which gives us an opportunity to share with many people at one time. Many times they will ask if they can have next game, play against us or even with us. Over the years, this has lead to us making countless number of volleyball friends.
It is not always easy to play with strangers because they may not have the same knowledge of the game or may have poor attitudes when playing, but we always try show Christ’s love. While everyone knows that competition can bring the worst out in people, we also know that in competition we can show who Christ is in us. We have been going to the courts so much that many groups know who we are and it has given us an opportunity to talk to and minister to them.
Sports, including volleyball, have been a great tool for us as a family to share the hope of Christ to others. Our family believes in building relationships and being and example to others. We as a family have seen how sports can be a great tool for ministry and how the Lord has used us.
We have had small BBQ’s and fed other teams as well as invited other teams to church tournaments in the area. We are praying about other possibilities such as a study or worship before or after the games to continue reaching out to our world. We feel that God has given us the talent of playing sports and the passion for reaching others so we can combine the two.
Whatever sport you play gives way to show others who you are by how you play, how you react and how you persevere. We would encourage any family to continue showing the hope and love of Christ through your game.
By Elizabeth Hill and the Portales Family. Elizabeth is 26 years old and a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington with a degree in social work. She is currently enrolled at UTA working on her masters degree in social work. She is a member of Iglesia Bautista Getsemani in Fort Worth and is signed up to go to Boston through GoNow Missions/Convención for a mission trip this summer.